"The Time Tunnel" when it premiered in the fall of 1966,was creator- producer-director Irwin Allen's third science fiction series for television following the success of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea",and "Lost In Space". "The Time Tunnel" was also Allen's second television series produced for ABC-TV. The series was placed on ABC's prime-time Friday night schedule on September 9,1966 which in fact survived a season run of 30 episodes in color until it left on April 7,1967. The reason why this show didn't survive was that the network put this show opposite the hugely popular "The Wild,Wild West",and against "The Man From UNCLE" that clobbered it in the ratings. "The Time Tunnel" was an escapism of a series that was big in production,big in casting and big in the array of guest stars that were featured each week. With Art Direction William J. Creber, Rodger Maus and Jack Martin Smith; Set Decoration by Walter M. Scott and Norman Rockett; Special Visual Effects by L.B. Abbott;and Cinematopgraphy by Winton C. Hoch,with an opening theme from composer John Williams(who also composed the themes to other Irwin Allen produced shows from "Lost In Space" to "The Land of the Giants" before he became famous of his theatrical scores of films like "The Poseidon Adventure","The Towering Inferno","Jaws",and "Star Wars")."The Time Tunnel" upon it's short-lived run won the Prime Time Emmy in 1967 for Individual Achievement in Cinematopgraphy and Photographic Special Effects(L.B. Abbott),and was nominated that same year for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematopgraphy(Winton C. Hoch). Most of the props used for the series were borrowed from other Irwin Allen shows like "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea",and "Lost In Space".
Top name directors ranging from Nathan Juran, William Hale, Harry Harris, Herschel Daugherty, Murray Golden, Jerry Hopper,and Paul Stanley with Irwin Allen contributing directing the pilot episode of the series. Great writers also came from creator-producer Irwin Allen,but also from Bob and Wanda Duncan, William Welch, Carey Wilber, Allan Balter, Barney Slater, Leonard Stadd, Robert Hamner, William Read Woodfield, Theo Apstein, and Shimon Wincelberg.
Believe it or not, Irwin Allen's "The Time Tunnel" debuted in the same week as "Star Trek", "The Green Hornet",and "Tarzan",the premiere episode of "The Time Tunnel" had our heroes traveling through the portals of time ranging from them going back to the days of Pearl Harbor, The Old West, Sherwood Forest, going aboard the doomed Titanic,through the Roman Legions, Greek Mythology,and in one episode transported back to the Prehistoric/Jurassic Period. The starring leads Robert Colbert and James Darren were very familiar faces with TV audiences especially Darren himself who was still idolized as a "teen idol" from his stint in the theatrical "Gidget" movies and starring opposite Gregory Peck and David Niven in "The Guns of Navarone". The series also starred Whit Bissell,John Zaremba,and former Miss USA Lee Meriwether(in her first-ever television series). Each episode had our heroes going from one dimension of history to another and still you had to respect Irwin Allen for attempting to make something more and interestingly profound than "Voyage",but it survived as one of the shortest of the Irwin Allen produced series. Big name guest stars ranging from Michael Rennie, to Gary Merrill appeared in the pilot episode. Other guest stars were Lew Gallo, Michael Ansara, Malachi Throne, Rhodes Reason, Kevin Hagen, Anne Dore, Michael Pate, Perry Lopez, Rodolfo Hoyos,Jr., John Hoyt, Carroll O'Connor, Paul Fix, Vitina Marcus, Linden Chiles, Scott Marlowe, David Opatoshu, Nehemiah Persoff, to Victor Jory, Ellen Burstyn, Ben Cooper, Torin Thatcher, Mako, John Lupton, Jim Davis, Dee Hartford, R.G. Armstrong, Regis Toomey, Ford Rainey, John Napier, Vince Howard, Susan Flannery, Don Knight, Robert Riordan, George Matsui, Abel Fernandez, Richard Jaeckel, Robert Duvall, Gunnar Hellstrom, Allen Case, Eduardo Ciannelli, Paul Mantee, Jan Merlin, Heather Young, John Saxon, and Robert Walker, Jr.
The best episodes from this short-lived science fiction/fantasy series were very good and I start with the series pilot episode "Rendezvous With Yesterday". The other episodes included were "The Day The Sky Fell In", "The Revenge of the Gods","The Revenge of Robin Hood", "The Alamo", "The Invasion", "The Walls of Jericho", "The Pirates of Deadman's Island", "The Last Patrol", "A Chase Through Time", "Crack of Doom", "The Death Trap","The End of the World",and "The Idol of Death".
When the series was abruptly canceled on April 7, 1967 the network didn't take long to find a replacement on it's Friday night schedule for the 1967-1968 season. The series that replaced "The Time Tunnel" was a Western which was also short-lived as well......"Hondo" that was produced through John Wayne's production company Batjac Productions for ABC-TV that lasted 26 episodes in color and starred Ralph Teague in the title role.